Ministry (government department)

type of top-level division of public administration
For other meanings of the term ministry, see Ministry.

A ministry is a department of a government, led by a political minister. Ministries are usually subordinate to the cabinet, and prime minister, president or chancellor. A government will usually have several ministries, each with a specialised field of service. National ministries vary greatly between countries, but some common ones include Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Health.

Some countries such as Switzerland, the Philippines and the United States do not use the term "ministry" for their government departments, and instead simply call them departments. In Hong Kong the term "bureau" is used.

In Canada, some provincial-level government departments are called "ministries" (such as in Ontario and British Columbia) but most are called "departments." Their heads are referred to as "ministers" in both levels of government, however.